More than half of American adults are living with gum disease, an infection of the tissue around your gums. But many of them don’t know they have it until it has caused more serious damage!
There are two forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a more mild form of gum disease. In this stage, gum disease can be cured by eradicating harmful bacteria around and under the gumline.
But left untreated, gingivitis can worsen into periodontitis. At this point, gum disease cannot be cured; it can only be managed.
That’s why it’s so important not only to floss routinely but also to seek proper treatment for gum disease once you realize it’s a problem!
Read on for five common signs of gum disease. Then, partner with the caring team at A Perfect Smile to get your gum health back on track! Call us at (207) 536-3508 to schedule an appointment.
1. Red, Irritated Gums
When your gums are healthy, they should be a coral pink color. If your gums are red, it’s likely that they’re irritated and inflamed.
What causes gums to be irritated? When gums are plagued by bacterial buildup, the tissue responds by becoming inflamed. Blood flow to the area increases, causing the area to become red and swollen.
This is often one of the earliest signs of gingivitis. Removing that bacterial buildup with routine dental exams and cleanings once every six months will help alleviate inflammation. At A Perfect Smile, we clean your gums with a gentle but thorough ultrasonic cleaning device.
We also offer a deeper cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing. If you’re in the early stages of gum disease, this should effectively eradicate the infection.
When we perform a scaling and root planing procedure, our goal is to remove plaque that’s hiding below the gumline.
In the first part of the procedure, called scaling, we’ll use special tools to clean bacteria that can’t be removed with regular brushing or flossing. Then, in the second phase of the procedure, called root planing, we smooth the surfaces of the roots of your teeth to prevent future bacterial buildup.
2. Bleeding Gums
Cleaning your teeth shouldn’t be painful, nor should it leave your gums bleeding. If you’re flossing and brushing properly — that is, not too aggressively and using a toothbrush with soft bristles — then bleeding gums are likely a sign of gingivitis.
If you’re experiencing bleeding gums, reducing plaque buildup can solve the problem. As with red or tender gums, a deep cleaning can effectively stop the bleeding.
3. Gumline Recession
If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, or if your teeth have taken on an abnormally long appearance, it’s possible you’re experiencing gum recession. Periodontitis can cause gum tissue to pull away from your teeth.
In severe cases, the receding gumline can create “pockets” or gaps between your teeth and your gumline. The roots of your teeth may become exposed, leaving these structures vulnerable to infection and decay.
If this sounds familiar, give us a call to schedule a deep cleaning. The pockets created by gum recession are prime real estate for bacterial buildup. Getting rid of the bacteria will minimize damage. We can also prescribe an antibiotic.
We’ll also assess how severe your gum recession is, and we may recommend a more involved procedure to repair the damage. Most often, this is done with a gum graft, a small amount of healthy tissue placed over the receded gumline to encourage regrowth of healthy tissue.
4. Bad Breath
Does it seem like mints and mouthwashes aren’t enough to keep bad breath at bay?
Since gum disease is caused by bacterial buildup trapped along and underneath the gumline, it’s often accompanied by bad breath.
Increasing your water intake and using an antiseptic mouthwash may be able to help in the short-term, but a deep cleaning of the gumline will eliminate what’s causing your bad breath.
Bad breath is especially common in people experiencing severe gum recession since brushing and flossing can’t effectively remove the bacteria that gather in the pockets between the teeth and gums. When you eliminate those pockets with a procedure that repairs the damage, you’ll notice that it’s easier to maintain pleasant breath.
5. Loose Teeth
Infections spread. And with gum disease, the infection can easily spread from your gum tissue to the bony structures that support your teeth.
When the roots of your teeth are damaged by infection, they’re at risk of coming loose or even falling out!
Healthy Gums, Healthy You!
Gum disease has been linked to serious health complications, like heart disease and stroke. Luckily, A Perfect Smile makes it easy to diagnose and treat gum disease! We’ll help you catch it early if possible, and we’ll quickly get you on the road to better overall health.